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Full text of "Learning tests with deaf children"



i 




LIBRARY 

Walter E. Fernald 
State School 




Waverley, Massachusetts 

No . A-\A -*"t3 




Vol. XX PSYCHOLOGICAL REVIEW PUBLICATIONS ^^,* ^]j 

No. 4 Whole No. 88 



Psychological Monographs 



EDITED BY 

JAMES ROWLAND ANGELL, University of Chicago 
HOWARD C. WARREN, Princeton University (Review) 

JOHN B. WATSON, Johns Hopkins University (/. of Exp. Psych.) 
SHEPHERD I. FRANZ, Govt. Hosp. for Insane (Bulletin) and 
MADISON BENTLEY, University of Illinois (Index) 



LEARNING TESTS WITH 
DEAF CHILDREN 



By 



RUDOLPH PINTNER and DONALD G. PATERSON 

Ohio State University 



PSYCHOLOGICAL REVIEW COMPANY 

PRINCETON, N. J. 
and LANCASTER, PA. 

Agents: G. E. STECHERT & CO., London (2 Star Yard, Carey St., W. C.) 
Leipzig (Koenigstr.,37); Paris (16ruede Cond6) 



PREFACE 
The work reported in this monograph was carried out at the 
request and with tht cooperation of the Committee on Measure- 
ment of Efficiency of Schools for the Deaf representing the Con- 
ference of Superintendents and Principals of American Schools 
for the Deaf, composed of Richard O. Johnson, Chairman, 
Superintendent of the Indiana State School for the Deaf ; J. W. 
Jones, Superintedent of the Ohio State School for the Deaf; 
Dr. A. L. E. Crouter, Superintendent of the Pennsylvania In- 
stitution for the Deaf (Philadelphia) ; Augustus Rogers, Super- 
intendent of the Kentucky State School for the Deaf, and Walter 
M. Kilpatrick of the American School for the Deaf, Hartford, 
Conn. The writers take great pleasure in acknowledging here 
the great kindness and courtesy shown to them by the superin- 
tendents, principals and teachers of the three schools in which 
the tests were given. They feel greatly indebted for the co- 
operation and help given by the educators and teachers whom it 
was their privilege to meet. In particular they wish to thank 
here Superintendent Richard O. Johnson, Dr. A. L. E. Crouter 
and Superintendent J. W. Jones who made this work possible. 

Rudolf Pintner, 
Donald G. Paterson. 
Columbus, October, 191 5. 



,& 



LEARNING TESTS WITH DEAF CHILDREN 

The learning ability of the deaf child, as tested by psycholog- 
ical methods, forms the subject matter of this monograph. The 
tests chosen for this purpose were the Digit-Symbol and Symbol- 
Digit Tests. 1 It is not claimed that these two tests alone can give 
an absolute measure of any particular individual's learning ability ; 
but it is our opinion that where large numbers of children are 
tested, as in this investigation, a fairly definite view of the learn- 
ing ability of the whole group may be attained. 

These tests were chosen for two reasons. In the first place, a 
considerable amount of work with hearing children has already 
been done with them, and valuable norms for hearing children 
have been published by Pyle. These norms form an excellent 
means of comparison between deaf and hearing children, and 
they will be referred to repeatedly in the body of the work. In 
the second place, language is not required in the performance of 
these tests. This is a desideratum in dealing with deaf children, 
inasmuch as the language ability of the deaf child is considerably 
below that of the hearing child. Learning tests involving language 
would be totally unsuited for the purpose of comparing deaf 
children and hearing children, because the deaf child is cut off 
from language experience, due to his inability to imitate the audi- 
ble sounds of spoken language and is therefore deprived of normal 
social intercourse. It is the learning of language that forms 
the greatest obstacle in the education of the deaf child. We 
believe, therefore, that the choice of our two tests was happily 
made, as they can be administered and performed without the 
aid of spoken or written language. 

Method of Procedure 

The tests were given as class tests. The Digit-Symbol test 
was always given first by one of the writers, and the Symbol-Digit 

j( * G. M. Whipple, Manual of Mental and Physical Tests, Baltimore : War- 
wick & York, 1910, pp. 350-355. Also, W. H. Pyle, The Examination of 
School Children, New York: The Macmillan Co., 1913, pp. 18-22. 



2 RUDOLF PINTNER AND DONALD G. PATERSON 

test by the other followed. This insured uniformity of procedure 
in each test. In two schools these two tests were given on the 
same day ; in the other school about two months elapsed between 
the Digit- Symbol and the Symbol-Digit test. 

The method of giving the test, as described by Whipple or Pyle, 
could not naturally be followed in dealing with deaf children. 
Oral instructions would have been of no avail. Written instruc- 
tions would have been too difficult to be comprehended by the 
deaf children, owing to their difficulty with language, and if such 
had been used would at any rate have made the test primarily a 
test of comprehension of language and secondarily a learning test. 
Such a procedure would have increased the difficulty of the test 
enormously for the deaf children and made any comparison with 
the norms for hearing children worthless. We, therefore, resorted 
to a description of the test on the blackboard, and an explanation 
of what was required by actually performing the operations in 
front of the class. This is similar to the method suggested by 
Whipple for giving the test to very young children. The key to 
the test as printed on the top of the test sheet was drawn on the 
board, i.e., the nine circles with their appropriate symbols and 
digits. Underneath this, two lines of the test, similar to but not 
the same as on the sheet, were drawn, showing the numbers or 
digits at the left hand side and the blank spaces to be filled in on 
the right. By natural gestures the experimenter showed how each 
symbol or digit corresponded to the appropriate blank space, and 
then went through the motions of looking for the corresponding 
symbol or digit in the key above, of bringing it down and filling it 
in the blank space. The experimenter then asked one of the 
children to come to the board and fill in the next blank space. If 
the child did not understand he was shown how to do it correctly. 
Similarly with the rest of the children in the class. In almost 
every class, with the exception of a few of the higher and brighter 
classes who obviously understood what was wanted after ten 
blanks had been filled in by ten pupils, every single child in the 
class took his turn at the board. Sometimes, indeed, the child was 
at the board five minutes or more, being instructed how to fill in 
the blanks. Every effort was made to give all the children the 



LEARNING TESTS WITH DEAF CHILDREN 3 

best possible opportunity to understand what was required. It 
was the opinion of the superintendents and teachers that this op- 
portunity was given to each child. Of course, in the very lowest 
grades and with the very dull children, lack of comprehension was 
obvious from their work, although each one was given a trial at 
the board and guided through the appropriate movements of fill- 
ing in the blanks. After this explanation on the board, the chil- 
dren were shown one test sheet held up in front of the class by 
the experimenter and told that it was the same as the one drawn 
on the blackboard. The experimenter pointed to the key at the top, 
the symbols or digits down the sides and the blank spaces to be 
filled in. The children were told to work as quickly as possible. 
The test sheets were then passed around and kept face downwards 
until the signal to begin was given. At a signal all turned over 
the sheets and worked until the signal to stop was given. Five 
minutes was the time allowed, except that in the lower grades 
eight minutes was the time-limit. 

Our method of giving the test, as will be seen from the above, 
differs to some extent from the method employed with hearing 
children. The greatest difference lies in the fact that the symbols 
and digits used on the test sheet were before the children on the 
board from ten to twenty minutes before they started to work. 
This does not seem to have been the method employed by Pyle as 
far as can be determined from the description of his procedure. 
The deaf children had thus this much time during which associa- 
tions between the digits and symbols could be formed, which 
would give them considerable advantage over the hearing children. 
We do not believe that many, if any, of the children set to work 
to memorize the digits and symbols during this preliminary period 
of explanation. Most of them were absorbed in the experiment- 
er's explanation and in watching the other children at work at 
the board. Nevertheless, some familiarity with the digits and 
symbols must have been attained by the child before beginning the 
test proper. This, owing to the nature of the case, was unavoida- 
ble, and we considered it preferable to setting the children to 
work without adequate explanation, or without being certain, as 
we were with our procedure, that almost every child understood 



4 RUDOLF PINTNER AND DONALD G. PATERSON 

what was required of him. If the hearing children as tested by 
Pyle had been given the same advantage as the deaf chil- 
dren, the norms for the hearing undoubtedly would be 
higher, so that in our comparison between the deaf and hear- 
ing, it is the deaf child who has the advantage. We feel confi- 
dent that our estimate of the deaf child's ability on these two 
tests is most certainly not too low. It is, probably ; a little too 
high. 

The Numbers Tested 

These tests were carried out in three state schools for the educa- 
tion of the deaf. These three schools we shall designate A, B 
and C. In all of the schools it was our aim to test as many 
children as possible. The usual procedure was to begin with the 
higher classes and to continue down to the lower grades. Only 
the most elementary classes in each of the schools were omitted, 
since it was found impossible for the children in those classes to 
understand the requirements of the tests. It was the aim of the 
writers to include as many deaf children as possible in the investi- 
gation. In school A 351 children were given the Digit-Symbol test 
and 416 children the Symbol-Digit test. In School B 227 children 
were given the Digit-Symbol test and 22S children the Symbol- 
Digit test. In school C 413 children were given the Digit- Symbol 
test and 405 children the Symbol-Digit test. The ages of the 
pupils ranged from 8 to more than 20 years. The oldest pupil 
was about 26 years of age. In our classification of the children 
according to age we have grouped all those above 18 years old 
under the heading of adults. This was done because norms for 
hearing children for the separate ages above 18 are not available. 
The total number of children in all the schools tested on the Digit- 
Symbol test was 992 and the number tested on the Symbol-Digit 
test was 1049. The sexes were fairly well divided, there being 
514 boys and 478 girls on the Digit- Symbol test and 541 boys and 
508 girls on the Symbol-Digit test. 



LEARNING TESTS WITH DEAF CHILDREN 5 

Method of Tabulation of Results 

After the tests, had been given, each paper was scored in the 
following manner. The number of blanks filled in correctly was 
counted, and this value was divided by the time allowed for the 
test, five or eight minutes as the case might be. This gives the 
number of correct blanks filled in per minute and will be called 
the score. This method of scoring is used by Pyle. The papers 
were then arranged according to chronological age. The median, 
75 percentile and 25 percentile scores were then tabulated. These 
values were obtained by arranging the papers of each age in order 
of merit. The paper standing midway between the lowest and 
highest paper represents the median score; the paper standing 
one quarter of the way from the highest paper represents the 25 
percentile, and the paper three quarters of the way from the 
highest paper represents the 75 percentile. For example, by re- 
ferring to Table 6 we find there are 95 pupils aged 12, 75 per 
cent of whom had a score of 8.6 or better. One half had a score 
of at least 14.0 (i.e., the median), and 25 per cent had a score of 
19.4 or better. The highest and lowest scores at each age were 
also noted, and the number of papers at each age that reached the 
average score for hearing boys and for hearing girls respectively, 
as given by Pyle, was also counted. The number reaching Pyle's 
average for each age has been expressed in per cent of the total 
number of deaf children at each age. A division of the sexes 
was then made, and these same values were found for the girls 
and for the boys separately. A third division between the congen- 
ital and adventitious cases was also made and here the median 
alone was found. In two of the schools a further division of 
children according to the method of instruction, whether pre- 
dominately oral or manual, was made. Our tables and curves 
showing the difference between these two groups do not reflect in 
any way upon either of these two methods of instruction. From 
our results it would be obviously invalid to draw any conclusions 
as to the superiority or inferiority of either the oral or manual 
method. Nor would a comparison of schools using any one 
method exclusively allow us to make any deductions as to the 



6 RUDOLF PINTNER AND DONALD G. PATERSON 

method employed in the school in quesetion. The tests are pri- 
marily tests of native ability, and the superiority of any particular 
school would undoubtedly be due to a better selection of pupils in 
that school. The results merely indicate the learning ability of the 
children on these two tests. It is customary in most combined 
schools where both oral and manual methods of instruction are 
used, to relegate the slower and duller pupils to the manual 
classes, and this fact is shown clearly by the results of the tests. 

These three divisions, according to age, sex and cause of deaf- 
ness were carried out for each of the three schools separately and 
then for all the three schools combined. We are, therefore, able 
to compare the scores for the deaf child according to age, sex, and 
cause of deafness in each of the three schools ; and finally we have 
age norms on about 1,000 deaf children arranged according to 
age, sex and cause. In addition to this, a comparison was sought 
between the children who were partially deaf and those totally 
deaf. The comparisons were worked out for two of the schools 
only. Total or partial deafness was based on the teachers' esti- 
mate. It may be said that the curves show no radical difference 
between the two groups. The data is not given here since we 
believe that the comparison is unreliable. It is extremely difficult 
to estimate the amount of hearing possessed by a deaf child. 
There can be no doubt that the estimates of the amount of hearing 
must have differed greatly among the various teachers. 

In addition to this method of compiling the data, we nave 
attempted a more direct comparison between each deaf child and 
the average hearing child of the same age. Each individual 
child's score was compared to the age norms as given by Pyle and 
the age of the hearing child to which this score most closely agreed 
was noted. This we have called the Pyle age. It gives the deaf 
child's performance in terms of the chronological age of the 
hearing child. The difference between this value or Pyle age 
and the deaf child's age will give the number of years accelerated 
or retarded on the test for each individual child. This method 
was employed so that some measure of the amount of acceleration 
or retardation of the deaf child could be arrived at. The curves 
and tables of retardation given later are based upon this method. 



LEARNING TESTS WITH DEAF CHILDREN 7 

They do not include deaf children below age ten. Those aged 
eight and nine were omitted because there are no norms for 
hearing children below eight, and therefore no valid estimate of 
retardation could be made if the score of the deaf child was below 
the score of an eight-year-old hearing child. The scores of most 
eight and nine-year-old deaf children were actually below the 
average score of the eight-year-old hearing child. 

The Results 

I. The Digit-Symbol Test 

A. Comparison of the Three Schools Separately. We give, first, 
a comparison of the scores of the children in the three schools. 
Table I shows the results for all the children tested in each of the 
three schools, designated A, B and C. The classification on this 
table as on all the following ones is according to age. The hori- 
zontal divisions of the table show the number of children tested, 
the 75 percentile, the median, the 25 percentile, the percentage 
reaching Pyle's norm for boys and the percentage reaching Pyle's 
norm for girls. In each division the values for the three schools, 
A, B and C, are given. This arrangement of the tables is uniform 
throughout the work. 

It will be noted that the number tested at most ages in each 
school is sufficiently large to give a fairly reliable median at each 
age. The quartiles and medians rise fairly uniformly from year 
to year in each school. The percentage of children reaching the 
boys' and girls' median at each age shows no uniformity. Evi- 
dently some age groups i*» some schools are much poorer than 
others in comparison to hearing children. A far greater number 
reach the median for hearing boys than for hearing girls. This 
is due to the fact that hearing girls have higher scores than 
hearing boys at every age. School C shows the highest percentage 
of children reaching the boys' and girls' median. The average is 
32.8 per cent for the boys' median and 21.18 per cent for the 
girls'. School A comes next, and school B last. This is an indi- 
cation of the relative position of the three schools with respect to 
the ability of the pupils on these tests. 

A comparison of the medians of the three schools is seen best 



8 RUDOLF PINTNER AND DONALD G. PATERSON 

from Graph i. School C shows the highest median at all ages 
except nine and eighteen. School B shows the lowest median at 
all ages, except age seventeen. School A takes an intermediate 
position between the other two schools. 

Table 2 shows the results for deaf boys. The medians and 
percentiles do not rise so uniformly, since we are dealing with 
much smaller numbers in each group. The same remarks apply to 
Table 3 showing the data for deaf girls. The relative position of 
the three schools remains about the same for the two sexes as in 
Table 1 for both sexes combined. 

The comparison between the abilities of the boys and girls can 
be seen best from Graphs 2, 3 and 4, which compare the work of 
the boys and girls in the three separate schools. In all three 
graphs there is so much crossing and re-crossing of the curves as 
to indicate no constant and uniform sex difference on this test. 
In school B we note that the young girls (ages 9-1 1 ) are decidedly 
inferior to the boys of the same ages. The eleven-year-old girls 
are strikingly so. In school C we find that the 17 and 18-year-old 
girls are also much inferior to the boys of the same ages. Varia- 
tions of this nature seem to be due to accidental causes. The 
number of children in any one age and sex group in any one 
school is relatively small, and the ability of any such group is 
liable to change from year to year owing to the composition of 
the group. On the whole, however, the younger girls in each 
school seem to be less efficient than the boys of the same age. 

The comparison between the deaf boys of each school and the 
hearing boys as tested by Pyle is given in Graph 5. A similar 
comparison between the girls is shown in Graph 6. One striking 
feature about these two graphs is the fact that the curves for the 
deaf scarcely ever reach the curves for the hearing. The 16-year- 
old boys of school C surpass somewhat the hearing boys of that 
age. In the lower ages (8, 9 and 10) in both graphs, it is to be 
noted how great the discrepancy is between the performance of 
the deaf and the hearing children. Another interesting feature 
about the two graphs is the fact that the deaf boys approach the 
hearing boys more closely than the deaf girls approach the hearing 
girls. The deaf girls are not inferior to the deaf boys, as we saw 



LEARNING TESTS WITH DEAF CHILDREN 9 

in the previous graphs, but they are further away from the hear- 
ing girls than the deaf boys are from the hearing boys, because 
the hearing girls do better than the hearing boys on this test. In 
comparing the three schools, we note that the boys of school C 
surpass the boys of the other two schools to a greater degree 
than the girls of school C surpass the girls of the other two 
schools. 

Table 4 and Graphs 7, 8 and 9 give the comparison between the 
children congenitally and adventitiously deaf. No uniform and 
constant difference between these two groups is apparent either 
from the tables or the graphs. There seems to be a suggestion 
of the adventitious cases being inferior in the lower ages, but it 
must be borne in mind that there are generally fewer adventitious 
than congenital cases in the lower ages. We cannot conclude 
from the data that either of these groups shows a superiority over 
the other in learning ability. 

Table 5 and Graphs 10 and 1 1 show the comparison between the 
oral and manual pupils in schools A and B. In school C no 
manual instruction is given, and therefore this comparison is 
impossible for that school. The inferiority of the manual pupils, 
as a whole, is apparent in both schools. At only one age (age 
12, school A) do the manual pupils surpass the oral pupils. The 
difference between the two groups is by no means constant at 
every age in both schools. At some ages this difference is insig- 
nificant, whereas at others it is very great. The drop in the curve 
at age 18 in school B is not significant, as only three manual 
pupils are represented at that age. That the manual pupils should 
be inferior to the oral pupils is to be expected, since it is the general 
policy of combined schools to endeavor to teach all pupils by the 
oral method and to relegate to the manual classes only such pupils 
as fail to make progress with oral work. The fact, however, 
that we do find many manual pupils who are decidedly superior 
to oral pupils in this test of learning ability might raise the ques- 
tion whether there is not a type of pupil who, for some reason or 
another, cannot make progress under oral instruction and yet is 
by no means lacking in ability in other directions, where speech 
and lip reading are not required. The results may, of course, be 



io RUDOLF PINTNER AND DONALD G. PATERSON 

interpreted in another way, as meaning that the selection of the 
brighter pupils for oral instruction has not been carried out 
consistently. We would suggest that in making such classifica- 
tions great help might be obtained from appropriate mental tests. 

B. All Schools Combined. The combination of the results of all 
three schools is shown in Table 6, and the medians for each age 
are represented by the curves in Graph 12. The total number of 
children tested is 992, a number large enough to insure fairly 
reliable norms for each age. We believe that the medians from 
age 10 to age 18 may be regarded as fairly typical of the deaf 
child's learning ability. These medians would furnish reliable 
age norms for the comparison of the performances of other deaf 
children. The curve rises steadily from age 8 to the adult age 
group with one slight drop at age 1 1 . This drop can be accounted 
for by the strikingly poor performance of the 11 -year-old girls at 
school B. A larger number of 10- and 11-year-old children might 
smooth the curve at this point. The norm for adults, as we have 
called the pupils above age 18, cannot of course be taken as typical 
of the adult deaf in general. These so-called adults were all pupils 
of deaf schools, and it is reasonable to suppose that in general it 
is not the brightest group of deaf pupils who remain in school 
after the age of 18. In spite of this fact, it is interesting to note 
that their median score is 0.6 more than the score for the 18-year- 
olds. The line giving the highest scores shows that, at almost 
every age, a very high score is reached by some one child, and the 
line giving the lowest scores shows that in every age group there 
are cases of absolute inability to comprehend the test. The percen- 
tage reaching Pyle's medians for boys and for girls seems to show 
a slight tendency to increase in the upper ages, although this ten- 
dency is, by no means, uniform In the last two horizontal 
columns a comparison has been made between the median of the 
deaf child at each age and the median for the hearing child. For 
example, the deaf children of age twelve have a median score of 
14.0 which corresponds to the median score of nine-year-old hear- 
ing children or a retardation of three years as a group. This 
retardation is shown in the last horizontal column, and will be 
discussed later, along with the other and better method of estimat- 



LEARNING TESTS WITH DEAF CHILDREN n 

ing retardation. The average amount of retardation estimated in 
this way is 3.75 years. 

Tables 7 and 8 show the results for the two sexes, and Graph 
13 gives a comparison of the medians at each age. There is a 
fairly constant increase from age to age with the boys, whereas 
with the girls we see considerable irregularities from year to 
year. The most noticeable drop in the median is at age 11. We 
have noted above the low scores made by eleven-year-old girls in 
all schools. There seems to be no obvious reason why this should 
have occurred. The 17 and 18-year-old girls are also inferior 
and drop below the 15 and 16-year-olds. The graph shows us 
the comparison between the boys and girls. In general, the boys 
seem to do slightly better than the girls, yet the difference is by 
no means great. The superiority of the boys is shown, however, 
by the comparison between the deaf and hearing of the same sex 
in Graphs 14 and 15. The curve for the deaf boys is much closer 
to the curve for the hearing boys than the curve for the deaf girls 
is to the curve for the hearing girls. What we have seen to be 
true for each school comes again fully into prominence when all 
the children are massed together. This same difference between 
the deaf and hearing is shown in the tables by the percentage of 
deaf reaching the median of the hearing. Of deaf boys 24.2 per 
cent reach the median for hearing boys, whereas only 10.3 per 
cent of deaf girls reach the median for hearing girls. Again, the 
average retardation as calculated in the last two lines of the 
tables is only 2.8 years for boys, but for girls it amounts to 
4.5 years. Again, in eight of the twelve age groups the highest 
individual score reached by any one child belongs to a boy. The 
more precocious development of the hearing girl as contrasted 
with the hearing boy does not seem to occur with deaf girls. 

The results for the congenital and adventitious cases are given 
in Table 9, and the comparison can be made in Graph 16. As in 
the case of the three schools taken separately, here again, with all 
the cases combined, we are unable to find any decided difference 
between these two groups. It is true that in the higher ages the 
adventitious cases seem to be slightly better than the congenital 
ones. This could be easily explained by the fact that in the 



12 RUDOLF PINTNER AND DONALD G. PATERSON 

higher ages we have a certain number of children who have lost 
their hearing at a comparatively late period of life and who have 
had the advantage of hearing and speaking. The number of these 
cases is, probably, too small to affect the group. Again, the acci- 
dent which deprived them of hearing may have also affected their 
mentality somewhat, so that as a group the adventitious are not 
superior in learning ability to the congenitally deaf, as we would 
expect on a priori grounds. We find in the results of these tests no 
justification for the prevalent opinion that the adventitiously deaf 
as a group are superior to the congenitally deaf as a group. 

C. Retardation. The method of calculating the retardation of 
each pupil has already been explained under "Tabulation of 
Results." Graph 17 shows the number of individuals accelerated 
or retarded in each of the three schools and in all the schools 
combined. It will be noted that the modes for schoods A and C 
lie at two years' retardation and for school B at three years. The 
mode of the combined curve lies at two years, although the 
median falls within the three-year-retarded group. Table 10 gives 
the actual numbers retarded at each age for the Digit- Symbol test 
in the upper third of the table. Table 11 gives the numbers and 
percentages for the groups of so-called Bright, Normal, Backward 
and Dull children. We have designated Bright all those two or 
more years accelerated ; Normal all those one year advanced to one 
year retarded; Backward all those two or three years retarded; 
and Dull all those four or more years retarded. This classifica- 
tion is more or less arbitrary and does not imply a mental diag- 
nosis of the cases. In each school we find the largest percentage 
of pupils in the Dull group, i.e., four or more years retarded, it 
being 47.1 per cent in school B ; 40.5 per cent in school A; and 31 
per cent in school C. School C shows, by far, the largest percent- 
age of Bright pupils, i.e., 16.5 per cent as compared to 2.6 and 3.1 
in the other two schools. The percentage of children in the 
Normal and Backward groups of all three schools do not differ 
greatly. The general shape of the curve of retardation for all the 
three schools combined is slightly skewed to the right. This is 
what our percentages show, namely that the greater number of 
children lie below two years' retardation rather than above it. 



LEARNING TESTS WITH DEAF CHILDREN 13 

The median falls in the three year group. This corresponds fairly 
well with the retardation of 3.7 found by the much rougher 
method described above, and tabulated on Table 6. 

II. The Symbol-Digit Test 

A. Comparison of the Three Schools Separately. Our dis- 
cussion of the Symbol-Digit test may be made briefer, since in 
all essentials the results bear out our findings on the Digit-Symbol 
test. A study of the tables and curves will show this. Table 12 
and Graph 18 show the results for all the pupils in the three 
schools separately. The relative position of the three schools is 
about the same as in the previous test. School C shows higher 
medians at all ages, except 17 and 18, than either of the other 
two schools. Schools A and B are much closer together on 
this test, and it would be difficult to say which is superior. The 
curves for these two schools cross each other repeatedly. The 
percentage of cases reaching the medians for hearing girls and 
boys is noticeably greater in school C than in the other two 
schools. 

Tables 13 and 14 show the results for the boys and girls respec- 
tively, and Graphs 19, 20, and 21 show the comparison between 
the two sexes for each of the schools. As in the previous test, we 
note that there is no significant sex difference. Noticeable again 
is the very poor performance of the 11-year-old girls of school B, 
and the extremely good performance of the 17-year-old boys of 
the same school. Graphs 22 and 23 bring out the contrast between 
the deaf child and the hearing child. All the three curves for the 
boys are much closer to the hearing boys* curve than the three 
curves for the deaf girls are to the hearing girls' curve. This is 
the same tendency noticed on the other test. The same factor 
can be seen by a comparison of the percentages of deaf boys and 
girls who reach the average for the hearing boys and girls. 

The results of the grouping into congenital and adventitious 
cases for the three schools appear in Table 15, and a comparison 
of the medians can be made from Graphs 24, 25 and 26 showing 
the performance of the two groups in schools A, B and C respec- 
tively. It can be plainly seen from these curves that again there 
is no striking difference between the two groups. 



14 RUDOLF PINTNER AND DONALD G. PATERSON 

Table 16 and Graphs 27 and 28 show the results of the division 
of oral and manual pupils. Again, the manuals are much worse 
than the orals, and as in the other test this is very noticeble in 
School B and not quite so apparent in school A. It will be seen, 
however, from Table 16 that there are relatively fewer manual 
cases in each age group. 

B. All Schools Combined. The results of all the deaf chil- 
dren on this test are given in Table 17. This represents over a 
thousand children, and we believe that the norms can be regarded 
as fairly representative of the ability of deaf children in general. 
Graph 29 shows the curve for the medians, and it will be seen 
that, with one exception, there is a steady rise from age to age. 
The drop at age 14 is only from a score of 24.5 at age 13 to a 
score of 23.3 at age 14, or a difference of 1.2. This is not very 
large. Reference to the tables for the two sexes will show that 
the drop is due to a relatively poorer performance of the fourteen- 
year-old boys. It is interesting to note that this drop at age 14 
does not occur in the other test (see Graph 12), and conversely 
the drop at age 11 in Graph 12 does not occur here in this test. 
The only indication of the weakness of the eleven-year-olds on 
this test is the slighter increase in score at age 11, as compared 
with the immediately preceding and succeeding ages. The per- 
centage of children reaching the boys' median is 4.5 greater than 
in the Digit- Symbol test. The amount of retardation as esti- 
mated on the table by a comparison of medians is 2.9 or some- 
what less than in the previous test. 

The scores for the boys and girls are given in Tables 18 and 
19 and Graph 30 shows the relative ability of the two groups. 
The girls on the whole seem slightly inferior to the boys, but the 
difference is by no means great or constant at each age. In 
general, we must conclude that the two groups show about the 
same ability. The contrast between each of the groups and the 
hearing children can be seen in Graphs 31 and 32. The deaf 
boys are always much nearer the hearing boys than the deaf 
girls are near to the hearing girls. At one point the deaf boys' 
curve actually rises above the hearing boys' curve. The curves 
for the girls (Graph 32) are always very far apart. This same 



LEARNING TESTS WITH DEAF CHILDREN 15 

difference is brought out by the percentages on Tables 18 and 19. 
Of the deaf boys 31.6 per cent reach the norm for hearing boys, 
whereas of the deaf girls only 9.6 per cent reach the correspond- 
ing norm for girls. This same phenomenon has been commented 
upon in the discussion of the Digit-Symbol test. 

The comparison of the congenital and adventitious cases is 
seen on Table 20 and Graph 33. As in the other test, we find no 
radical difference between these two groups. There is again the 
suggestion that the younger children among the adventitious 
group are inferior to the younger congenitals, and conversely 
that the older among the adventitious do better than the older 
congenitals. The difference is, however, very slight, and it is 
doubtful whether any importance should be attached to it. The 
adventitious curve is much more regular than the congenital. 
There is a decided drop at age 14 on the congenital curve. The 
poor performance of the congenital 14 year olds is obviously 
the cause of the drop at age 14, that we have already commented 
upon in discussing the general curve for all the deaf on this 
test (Graph 29). 

C. Retardation. The distribution of the children according 
to the number of years retarded or accelerated is shown in 
Graph 34, which gives the distribution for each school separately 
and for all schools combined. The modes for schools A and C 
lie at two years' retardation, and for school B at three years. 
The mode for the combined curve lies at two years. The median 
falls within the two year group, but is so close to the three year 
group that if we had drawn our curve to show half years it 
would have been at two and one half years and even then very 
close to the three-year-group. This approximates closely the 
average amount of r^ardation calculated roughly by the medians 
as shown in Table 17, where it was found to be 2.9 years. As 
in the previous test, we have in the combined curve, a curve 
which is slightly skewed to the right, meaning that there is a 
much larger number below the mode than above it. In Table 
10 the actual numbers for each of the schools and for all the 
children are given in the second third of the table and the per- 
centages for the four groups is shown in Table 11. In this 



16 RUDOLF PINTNER AND DONALD G. PATERSON 

test there is a somewhat higher percentage of "bright" children 
(11.6 per cent as contrasted with 8.4 per cent in the Digit- 
Symbol test). Conversely, there is a somewhat lower percent- 
age of "dull" children, 37.3 per cent as contrasted with 38.5 per 
cent in the Digit-Symbol Test. The percentages of the other 
two groups differ by about one point. All these differences are 
very slight. Indeed, it is remarkable how similar the percent- 
ages for the different groups in the two tests are. This serves 
to indicate the reliability of these tests. 

III. Both Tests Combined 

In order to verify the results found with each test separately, 
it was deemed wise to work out retardation statistics for the 
combination of the two tests. For this purpose each child's 
average score was taken and this average score compared to the 
averages of Pyle's norms for each age. In the case of Pyle's 
results the only figures available are the averages for each age. 
The combined average as computed by us is, therefore, the 
average of two averages, and not the average of all the indi- 
vidual children's averages for both tests. Graph 35 gives the 
curves for each school separately and for all the cases combined. 
As before, the mode lies at two years' retardation for schools 
A and C and at three years for school B. The mode for the 
combined curve lies at two, and the median falls within the 
three-year-retardation group. In the Digit-Symbol test the 
median was in the three year group; in the Symbol-Digit test 
it was in the two year group, but very near the three year 
group; in the two tests combined it lies within the three year 
group. We are, therefore, justified in saying that the average 
deaf child is about three years retarded in learning ability. 

This amount of retardation may be slightly over-estimated in 
view of the fact that the norms for the older hearing children 
probably represent a more select group of children than is the 
case with the children educated at schools for the deaf. This 
is due to the fact that the norms for the higher ages of hearing 
children are obtained for the most part from High School pupils 
and College students, who are apt to be superior to the general 
population. However, it must be borne in mind that the deaf 



LEARNING TESTS WITH DEAF CHILDREN 17 

child had a greater advantage in our tests owing to our method 
of procedure as we have noted above. The disadvantage to the 
deaf child was, probably, offset by his advantage in the method 
of procedure. For this reason, we feel our general result to be 
a correct estimate of the relative ability of the hearing and 
deaf child. 

The actual numbers retarded or accelerated at each age are 
shown in the lower third of Table 10, and the percentages of the 
four groups in Table 11. A comparison of these figures and 
percentages with the retardation statistics for each test sepa- 
rately as given in Tables 10 and 11 will show the general simi- 
larity of the results. It is noticeable that in combining the two 
tests we get a slightly lower percentage of "bright" pupils. The 
general similarity of the figures, however, gives us confidence in 
the results of the two tests. 

IV. Correlations 

We assume that if these two tests really measure the learning 
ability possessed by an individual, any particular individual of 
a group will do relatively as well in one test as in the other. If 
A is first in the Digit- Symbol Test, what likelihood is there that 
he will also be first, or among the best, in the Symbol-Digit Test? 
If these tests depend upon pure chance and do not really measure 
an existent capacity, A is just as liable to be last as to be first in 
the second test. By correlational methods we can determine the 
degree of probability involved in the question asked above. 

We have made the correlations in two ways. First we have 
correlated the results of the two tests by classes. Secondly, we 
have correlated the results by ages. Spearman's Correlation 
Foot-Rule or R method was used. 2 The formula is 

R=i- *** 

n a -i 

in which 2 g represents the sum of the gains made in the 
Symbol-Digit Test as contrasted with the Digit- Symbol Test, 
and n 2 is the number of pupils involved in the correlation, 
squared. This formula yields an index of correlation, R, that is 
not identical with the Pearson r. It is closely related, however, 

3 G. M. Whipple, Manual of Mental and Physical Tests, 1910. P. 34. 



18 RUDOLF PINTNER AND DONALD G. PATERSON 

to r and has been converted into the Pearson r values by means 
of the standard table for conversion of R into r values. 3 In all 
cases where the P.E. (probable error) is given, we have used 
Table 5 in Whipple's Manual for the derivation of the same. 

A. Correlation by Classes. Each one of the ninety classes 
was correlated separately. A sample of the method used is 
given below : 

Pupil D-S Test S-D Test 2 g 

A 1 1 

B 2 5 

C 3 2 1 

D 4 3 1 

E 5 6 

F 6 4 2 

G 7 7 



24 
!R = 1 =1 — .50 = .50 . r = .71 

48 

From the above it is seen that pupil A was first in both tests, 
that G was last in both and that the others shifted their positions 
slightly. Pupil F gained 2 in the Symbol-Digit Test over his 
position in the Digit-Symbol Test. The correlation of this class 
is fairly high. 

The average correlations of all the classes in each school 
along with the mean variations of the correlation coefficients are 
given below : 

School A. 26 classes 

Oral Classes 

Manual Classes 

All Classes 
School B. 23 classes 

Oral Classes 

Manual Classes 

All Classes 
School C. 41 classes 

Advanced Classes 

Intermediate Classes 

Primary Classes 

All Classes 

Average Pearson Coefficient of Correlation for the ninety classes in the 
three schools = .65. 

'Whipple, op. cit. Table 6, p. 36. 



Average r. 


M.V 


•55 


.17 


.71 


.12 


.61 


.16 


.60 


.21 


•72 


.18 


.64 


.21 


.64 


• 15 


.68 


.18 


.72 


.16 


.68 


.16 



LEARNING TESTS WITH DEAF CHILDREN 19 

These correlations are high enough to show that a pupil's 
standing in one test is in close functional correspondence with 
his standing in the other test. This is the more strongly em- 
phasized by the fact that the average correlation for School A 
is .61. It will be remembered that the two tests were separated 
by an interval of about two months in School A. In spite of 
this interval and all the factors influencing the abilities of the 
various pupils, we still find that the average pupil keeps his 
relative position in the group fairly well. 

The column headed M.V. shows the mean variations of the 
correlation coefficients for the different groups of classes. These 
figures show that the correlation coefficients do not fluctuate to 
any great extent. There are, of course, extreme cases in which 
the coefficient dropped to .20 on the one hand, and on the other 
rose to 1. 00. The oral classes in Schools A and B seem to give 
lower correlations and larger mean variations than do the manual 
classes. We are not able to interpret this phenomenon at the 
present time. It is possible that this tendency may be indicative 
of the constitution of these class groups. 

As School C represents but one classification according to 
method of instruction, we have given here the averages for the 
three departments of the school. It is interesting to note that 
as one goes from the Primary classes to the Advanced classes 
the correlation becomes lower. This may be merely a coinci- 
dence and we are inclined to believe that this is the case in view 
of the results obtained by the correlations of the various age 
groups. 

B. Correlation by Ages. The same method was pursued here 
as in the previous section. All the pupils in a given age were 
ranked on each test in order of merit and the gains and losses 
of position noted. Spearman's R was then found and converted 
into Pearson's r value. The P.E. in each age was also derived as 
explained above. In all 960 pupils were tested on both tests. 

Below are given the results of such correlation. In the first 
column are given the various ages, in the second the number of 
pupils tested on both tests, in the third the Spearman R, in the 
fourth the Pearson r and in the last the P.E. 



20 



RUDOLF PINTNER AND DONALD G. PATERSON 



Age 


Number 


R 


r 


P.E. 


8 


16 


.68 


.88 


.0486 


9 


43 


•55 


•76 


.0486 


10 


79 


•56 


•77 


.0397 


ii 


84 


•49 


.70 


•0397 


12 


92 


•58 


•79 


.0344 


13 


109 


.61 


.82 


.0243 


14 


9i 


•56 


-77 


.0344 


15 


86 


•51 


.72 


.0344 


16 


105 


.64 


.84 


.0243 


17 


104 


.60 


.81 


.0243 


18 


60 


•58 


•79 


•0343 


Ad. 


91 


•55 


•76 


.0344 




Average 


•58 


•78 


.0351 



The lowest correlation occurs at age 11 and the highest at 
age 8. There seems to be no constant difference in the corre- 
lations between the younger and the older ages. The variation 
from age to age is slight and follows no one direction. We 
conclude, therefore, that the tests classify the younger children 
as satisfactorily as they classify the older children. The aver- 
age r for all ages is .78 with an average P.E. of .0351. This 
average age correlation is .13 higher than the average class 
correlation. This is to be expected in so far as the class cor- 
relations are all based on a relatively small number of pupils, 
while the age correlations are based on a much larger number, 
varying from 43 to 109. We mean by this that a small displace- 
ment in a small group is much more serious from the standpoint 
of a high correlation than the same displacement in a large 
group. The efficiency of these two tests is more fairly repre- 
sented by the age correlations than by the class correlations, 
because of the larger number of pupils involved in them. The 
average r, .78, is a very high value, while the P.E. is very low. 
Whipple 4 states that a correlation is perfectly satisfactory, if 
it is three to five times as large as the probable error. Here we 
find the r to be twenty-two times the probable error, and this 
is evidence of the high degree of correlation between the two 
tests. 

C. Correlations between the Class Grades and the Tests. In 
two of the schools, A and B, it was possible to work out cor- 



* Whipple, op. cit. p. 32. 



LEARNING TESTS WITH DEAF CHILDREN 21 

relations between the standing of the pupils in their class, as 
determined by the average examination mark for the year, and 
the standing of the pupils in the tests. The rank correlations for 
each test and school standing were computed for each class. 
Below are given the averages of the correlations and the aver- 
age deviations for the oral classes, the manual classes and all the 
classes together. 

School Grades and the Digit-Symbol Test. 

School A. 
Sixteen oral classes 
Eight manual classes 
Two High School classes 
Total of 26 classes 

School B. 
Sixteen oral classes 
Six manual classes 
Total of 22 classes 
School Grades and the Symbol-Digit Test. 

School A. 
Twenty-one oral classes 
Nine manual classes 
Two High School classes 
Total of 32 classes 

School B. 
Sixteen oral classes 
Six manual classes 
Total of 22 classes 

It will be noted that all these correlations are very low. The 
large average deviations show the great fluctuations from class 
to class and indicate the presence of quite a number of negative 
correlations. In short the vast majority of classes show little 
correlation between the pupil's standing in the tests and the stand- 
ing as determined by school grades. If the tests are testing in- 
telligence, then the ordinary school examination is evidently test- 
ing something different. This raises a question too extensive to 
go into here. Our findings agree with those of other workers as 
cited and discussed by Stern. 5 

\ 5 Stern, William. The Psychological Methods of Testing Intelligence. 
Trs. by Whipple. Warwick and York, 1914. P. 61 et seq. 



/erage r 


A.D 


.14 


.22 


48 


.12 


.17 


03 


.25 


•17 


.18 


.23 


-.05 


•35 


.12 


.26 


.29 


.28 


.46 


.18 


.00 


.14 


■32 


.24 


• 13 


.18 


.10 


.28 


.12 


.21 



22 RUDOLF PINTNER AND DONALD G. PATERSON 

Conclusions 

Two important features are to be noted in summing up the 
results of this investigation. The one is the general similarity 
of the results found in each of the three schools taken separately ; 
and the other is the general similarity of the results for each of 
the two tests. It seems safe to say that, since we find this 
general similarity in the three schools and in the two tests, the 
conclusions we have arrived at may be regarded as supported by 
sufficient evidence. 

I. The deaf child is about three years behind the hearing 
child in learning ability, as tested by the rapidity and accuracy 
of forming associations between numbers and forms. 

II. The deaf boy is equal in learning ability to the deaf girl, 
differing in this respect from the hearing boy who falls below the 
hearing girl. 

III. The deaf boy approximates the hearing boy more closely 
than the deaf girl approximates the hearing girl in learning 
ability. 

IV. The congenitally deaf and the adventitiously deaf are 
equal in learning ability. 

In conclusion, we are of the opinion that something has been 
gained in establishing norms for these two tests. These norms 
for the deaf, as a whole, are found in Table 6 for the Digit- 
Symbol test and in Table 17 for the Symbol-Digit test. We 
believe that they form a reliable basis for comparing the work 
of any individual deaf child with the average deaf child of the 
same age. We wish emphatically to deny the possibility oi an 
accurate mental diagnosis of any one child on the basis of these 
two tests, and yet a very poor performance on both of these tests 
might arouse a suspicion that could be verified by other mental 
tests. In regard to groups of deaf children we have faith that 
the results of a group compared with our norms will give a good 
indication of the general mental level of the group. In this 
sense, we believe that these two tests are admirable for a general 
survey of the mental level of a school. It will not do, however, 
for such work to be carried out by individuals indiscriminately. 



LEARNING TESTS WITH DEAF CHILDREN 23 

A certain technique is necessary, and a strict conformity to the 
procedure as laid down by us is indispensable if results are to be 
at all comparable. We hold that most teachers are not fitted to 
give the tests from the mere fact that their attitude toward the 
child is naturally one of help and assistance. In some classes 
they would explain more than in others. This would invalidate 
the results. Strict adherence to a uniform mode of procedure 
is absolutely necessary. The results of tests conducted in such 
manner would undoubtedly prove useful in the classification of 
deaf children in practical school work. 













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TABLE ii. ACCELERATION AND RETARDATION BY GROUPS 

School A School B School C All Schools 

Digit-Symbol No. % No. % No. % No. % 

Bright 12 3.1 6 2.6 61 16.5 79 8.4 

Normal 82 23.4 49 21.2 99 27.0 230 24.3 

Backward 114 32.6 66 28.8 93 25.0 273 28.9 

Dull 142 40.5 108 47.1 113 31-0 363 38.5 

Total 350 100.6 229 99.7 366 99.5 945 100.1 

Symbol-Digit 

Bright 26 6.6 18 8.1 69 19,0 113 11.6 

Normal 86 22.0 43 19.5 99 27.0 228 23.4 

Backward 118 30.0 64 28.9 87 24.0 269 27.6 

Dull 160 41.0 96 43.4 107 29.0 363 37.3 

Total 390 99.6 221 99.9 362 99.0 973 99.9 

Average of Both Tests 

Bright 15 4.5 7 3-2 53 H-7 75 8.2 

Normal 71 21.2 42 19.0 in 30.5 224 24.4 

Backward no 32.8 65 29.4 86 23.7 261 28.4 

Dull 139 41.5 107 48.4 112 30.9 358 390 

Total 335 100.0 221 100.0 362 99.8 918 100.0 



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Graph i. Digit-Symbol Test. Comparison of All Deaf in Three Schools. 




Graph 2. Digit-Symbol Test. Comparison of Boys and Girls. School A. 




Graph 3. Digit-Symbol Test. Comparison of Boys and Girls. School B. 




Graph 4. Digit-Symbol Test. Comparison of Boys and Girls. School C. 




Graph 5. Digit-Symbol. Comparison of Hearing Boys and Deaf Boys. 




Graph 6. Digit-Symbol Test. Comparison of Hearing Girls and Deaf Girls. 



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Graph 8. Digit-Symbol Test. Comparison of Congenital and Adventitious 

Cases. School B. 



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Graph. 10. Digit-Symbol Test. Comparison of Oral and Manual Pupils. 

School A. 



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Graph ii. Digit-Symbol Test. Comparison of Oral and Manual Pupils. 

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Graph. 12. Digit-Symbol Test. Age Xorms for All the Deaf. 




Graph 13. Digit-Symbol Test. Comparison of Boys and Girls of All Schools. 




Graph 14. Digit-Symbol Test. Comparison of Hearing Boys and Deaf 

Boys of All Schools. 




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Graph 15. Digit-Symbol Test. Comparison of Hearing Girls and Deaf 

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Graph 16. Digit-Symbol Test. Comparison of Congenital and Adventitious 

Cases in All Schools. 




Graph. 17. Digit-Symbol Test. Distribution of Cases according to years 

retarded or accelerated. 




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IX -13 -IH 



Graph iS. Symbol-Digit Test. Comparison of All Deaf in Three Schools. 




Graph 19. Symbol-Digit Test. Comparison of Bovs and Girls. School A. 




Graph 20. Symbol-Digit Test. Comparison of Boys and Girls. School B. 




Graph 21. Symbol-Digit Test. Comparison of Boys and Girls. School C. 




Graph. 22. Symbol-Digit Test. Comparison of Hearing Boys and Deaf 

Boys. 




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Graph 23. Symbol-Digit Test. Comparison of Hearing Girls and Deaf Girls. 




Graph 24. Symbol-Digit Test. Comparison of Congenital and Adventitious 

Cases. School A. 



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Cases. School B. 



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Graph 26. Symbol-Digit Test. Comparison of Congenital and Adventitious 

Cases. School C. 



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Graph. 27. Symbol-Digit Test. Comparison of Oral and Manual Pupils. 

School A. 




Graph 28 Symbol-Digit Test. Comparison of Oral and Manual Pupils. 

School B. 




Graph. 29. Symbol-Digit Test. Age Norms for All the Deaf. 



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Graph. 30. Symbol-Digit Test. Comparison of Boys and Girls of All Schools. 




Graph 31. Symbol-Digit. Comparison of Hearing Boys and Deaf Boys 

of All Schools. 




Graph 32. Symbol-Digit Test. Comparison of Hearing Girls and Deaf Girls 

of All Schools. 




Graph 33. Symbol-Digit Test. Comparison of Congenital and Adventitious 

Cases in All Schools. 




Graph 34. Symbol-Digit Test. 

tard 



Distribution of Cases according to years re- 
ed or accelerated. 




Years +fc +s +4 +3 +z +1 o -1 -su -3 -v -S" -6 -7 -* -7 -to -n -/& -/£ 



Graph 35. Average of Both Tests. Distribution of Cases according to years 

retarded or accelerated. 




7 -% -? -10 -11 -12 -13